Re-released movies making big in the box office signals new trend in the new normal

August 19th, 2020

Are we going to start living in a world of movie re-runs?

News about the re-release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (first time in 4K and 3D) in China that raked in about $13.6 million on its opening weekend made us wonder if this signals the start of a new era for the entertainment industry as it adapts to the new normal.

China relaxed their enforced lockdown and opened their cinemas last month, but because of industry-wide production shutdowns since early this year, there are no new movies being released. For this reason perhaps, moviegoers made do with what was available—re-runs and delayed releases.

Aside from Harry Potter, several other re-runs like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Sam Quah’s crime drama Sheep Without a Shepherd also racked up solid numbers in the same weekend, with $1.3 million and $1.1 million, respectively.

The delayed release of Bad Boys for Life, which didn’t fare well compared to the double-digit earnings of Harry Potter, still reaped a modest $3.1 million despite bad reviews from the market. Another delayed release, The Eight Hundred from producer Huayi Bros., also made good money over the weekend with $2 million.

But it seems this re-runs ‘trend’ is not happening in China alone. When Warner Bros. re-released Christopher Nolan’s Inception last month in 37 markets (including Canada) for its 10th anniversary, it was able to make a solid $1.6 million in the box office.

Not only that, big studios such as Disney are expected to hold re-runs of certain titles in movie theaters across America that are either open or will reopen soon.

With most of the expected releases this year (such as Universal sequels F9 and Minions: Rise of Gru, Sony’s Ghostbusters Afterlife, or Disney’s Marvel movie Eternals) now being pushed back to 2021, it leaves a big hole that needs filling, at least for countries with open cinemas.

So while the world is on hold and we are pretty much glued in front of our TVs and computers for the unforeseeable future, open theaters will show re-releases to continue their business, all with the hope that they will bounce back once the pandemic is over.

Not this year, for sure.

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